Tell us your name and a little about yourself.
My name is Rhonda Scharf and I am a professional speaker, trainer, and author who is an efficiency expert. If there is an easier, faster, better way to do something, then I need to know not only what that is, but how I can implement that into my life and my business.
Once I figure it out for myself, I share that knowledge with others. For over 26 years I have travelled the world helping people learn new ways of doing things, challenging them on why they do what they do, and encourage them to step out of their comfort zone.
Status quo is profanity for me. As you can probably imagine, this is frustrating to my husband and children!
What exactly does your company do?
I am President of ON THE RIGHT TRACK Training & Consulting, based in Ottawa ON, and I specialize in administration in workplaces. I used to work in IT, so the blend of administration and IT fits perfectly into my brain and work style, which is why a book about artificial intelligence is right up my alley.
Alexa is Stealing Your Job: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Your Future is my latest book. I help people prepare for the upcoming disruption in their professional life. AI is going to change the way we work. I will help people change too so they CAN work.
Through training, keynote speeches, efficiency consulting, and books, I help organizations run faster, smoother, better all while keeping an eye on the profitability of what they do and being excited about the changes coming their way.
What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
My challenges are all self-imposed. I’m my own worst enemy. I have talked myself out of hundreds of great ideas, only to see someone else be really successful with something similar.
I’m from a small rural Canadian town. My dad was the only one in his family to ever graduate from high school. I was raised with a scarcity mentality and was afraid to be noticed. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is ME.
When I started giving advice to my audiences and clients about not listening to the negativity in our own head, I ignored the fact that I was doing exactly that (I justified why I did what I did.) I think we can all talk ourselves out of things when we listen to the negativity that happens. Things like “What makes you think you are qualified to do this?” or “Why do you think you’re better than X?” Those seeds of self-doubt hold people back
I’ve had my business for over 26 years, but only in the last dozen years have I really learned to overcome my own self-doubt and negativity. It was hard, and I still have times when I second guess myself, but I keep on believing that I have something worth sharing.
The Imposter Phenomenon is real! I was a willing participant for far too long. By forcing myself to do things that I was uncomfortable doing, I realized that what I was hearing in my own head was holding me back. I stopped listening to it and now deliberately look for situations that are uncomfortable. Not daily (I am human after all), but if something makes me nervous, then I know it is probably a good idea for me.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?
I admire people who go there before others. People who have great ideas and are not afraid to go “all in” on whatever their idea. People like Van Gogh who changed the way artists painted, and Seth Godin for putting his book as a free download before anyone was giving away content for free, Steve Jobs for changing the way we interact with computers, the Apollo 11 crew for never knowing if they were going to get to space, but being willing to try – even if it meant they died trying! I know none of these people, but they fascinate me. I want to be like that.
When I see people who do things “First”, I remind myself that I don’t want to be a follower, I want to be a leader. Even when going first doesn’t work out the way the person had hoped, I admire they were willing to take a risk and do it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
I’m sure that everyone says this, but my mom has always been my biggest fan. Even though she doesn’t really understand what I do, why I work as hard as I do or travel as much as I do, she is 100% behind me in all things. When I overhear her talking about me to her friends, I get embarrassed because she is so proud. She would be the one to banish the negativity out of my mind if I were to express it aloud. Moms are special people and I’m very blessed with mine.
What do you see as your greatest success in life?
Of course, my two children, Christopher and Patrick are my greatest success. I’m like my mom when I talk about my kids. I did a good job, even though I really had no idea what I was doing. They are adults now and living great lives with their wives (who I also adore.) I did what instinct taught me to do, and they turned out better than I could have ever hoped for.
And once, just once, I broke 95 on the golf course. It was a pretty exciting day.
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